There has been no shortage of activity behind the scenes at Easter Road during the winter’s break.
Northern Irish winger Ivan Sproule has signed an 18-month contract at Ross County after failing to command a regular first team slot.
The 31-year-old established himself as a fan favourite during two spells at Easter Road, playing 147 times and scoring 22 goals, including a famous hat-trick in a 3-0 victory over Rangers at Ibrox. He also played in the League Cup win over Kilmarnock at Hampden on 2007.
Colin Calderwood brought him back to Edinburgh in summer 2011 after a spell in England however he has only started twice this season, the last of which came in the 3-0 defeat at Inverness early last month.
Sproule, who joined his new County team-mates as they jetted out to Spain this morning for a four-day training break, told the Scotsman: “I know there was a bit of talk about possible moves in the summer, but I didn’t want to be hanging around in the stands for another six months.
“I am 31 now and want to be involved and contributing every week. I haven’t been able to do that this season and it has been frustrating.
“I knew Derek Adams from his time at Hibs and I liked what he had to say. There’s a good atmosphere and a great set-up up there. It’s a beautiful part of the country and I’m looking forward to getting my wife and kids up there.”
The popular winger left with the best wishes of all concerned at the club and Pat Fenlon said: “I would like to wish Ivan all the best as he embarks on the next chapter in his career, and thank him for his commitment and professionalism.
“Even when he wasn’t featuring as regularly as he would have liked, Ivan remained a model prop and a positive character within the dressing room.”
Meanwhile controversial striker Leigh Griffiths is in trouble after an alleged racist tweet. The on-loan star is regularly the subject of abuse and provocation online, and it is understood that he responded to an abusive tweet. He immediately deleted his comments and apologised to the ‘follower’ however details were passed to the media. Earlier this morning the club issued the following statement on the website: “Hibernian FC today confirmed that it had spoken to player Leigh Griffiths about exchanges on a social media website. The player had realised that despite the provocation, the language he used was totally unacceptable and had already apologised for what he said. The player has closed access to the account.
“The player supports the club and the whole of Scottish football in its stance against racism, bigotry and anti-social behaviour. The player will be subject to a disciplinary process which will be a private matter between the club and the player.”
Parent club Wolves also issued a statement condemning the tweet and confirmed that Griffiths is likely to spend the rest of the season at Easter Road, news which has delighted the Hibs’ faithful.
In further news, both winger Alex Harris and defender Bradley Donaldson have become the latest Academy graduates to be handed extended contracts at the club.
Attacking midfielder Harris, 18, made his first team debut against Dundee at Easter Road in October while centre-half Donaldson, 19, has been an ever present on the substitutes’ bench since early November.
Harris, who is nicknamed ‘Boozy’ because of his similar hairstyle to former Hibernian midfielder Guillaume Beuzelin, has signed an extension until June 2014.
Harris told Hibs TV: “Obviously I’m thrilled to be able to extend my deal with the club. Now I’ll be pushing myself on in order to get into the first team and to continue my development. It was a surprise. I had trained a couple of times with the first team before, but it was a big shock to be named on the bench and then to be brought on. My aims are to help the under-20s to win matches. Then I want to push forward into the first team and hopefully get some more game-time before the end of the season.”
Lifelong Hibs fan Donaldson said: “I’m very pleased to have extended my contract. I’ve been with the Academy since I was eight and I’ve been going to watch Hibs since I was two. It’s a great club and I had a season ticket when I was three and I used to go to away games as well until I was about 12.”
“To get on the pitch is my main goal and it’s one I’m working towards. When I was first called up into the match day squad for the away game at Motherwell in October it was a little unexpected, but then I was on the bench for the St Mirren game and I’ve pretty much stayed there ever since.”
Manager Pat Fenlon believes both players have got bright futures at the club. ”I’ve been impressed with Alex and Bradley – they’ve shown the right commitment and application.
“They’ve not been fazed by the challenge of stepping up and being involved at first team level and have shown good potential. We look forward to seeing them both continuing to develop into first team players here at Hibernian.”